Printable Version
Pronunciation: prê-krs-tê-nayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To postpone, to defer action, to put off doing something, to delay.

Notes: Procrastination must be common among English-speakers, for this Good Word has a large and healthy family. The action noun, as you can see, is procrastination, while the personal (agent) noun is procrastinator—that's someone who procrastinates. Procrastinators tend to be procrastinative or, as others say, procrastinatory. Both are good adjectives, no matter what your spellchecker says.

In Play: The motto of all procrastinators is, "Never do today what can be put off til tomorrow." I assume that none of our readers are procrastinators who will put off reading today's Good Word until tomorrow. Lest you think I am procrastinating, let me reel off an example of this very Good Word now: "I always procrastinate buying Christmas presents until the last minute and seldom have a wide selection to choose from."

Word History: Today's Good Word is another of the long line of English words shamelessly lifted from the Latin lexicon. It comes to us from procrastinatus "delayed until tomorrow", the past participle of procrastinare "to delay until tomorrow". This verb comprises the prefix pro- "forward" + crastinus "tomorrow's" + the verbal suffix. Crastinus is the adjective for cras "tomorrow", a word without a past, so far as we know. We do know it is unrelated to crassus "thick", whence came the English word crass.

Dr. Goodword,

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